It is rare indeed when one author publishes two exceptional books in one calendar year. This is such a year for Michael Koryta.
As if THE CYPRESS HOUSE isn’t enough of a masterpiece (and it is), THE RIDGE, Koryta’s second book this year, is equally enthralling.
THE RIDGE was destined to have a special place in my heart because one of the characters is a big cat rescue center, and the cats who live there play a central role in the story. I have a deep and abiding respect for organizations devoted to helping noble creatures who are too often at the mercy of the worst aspects of human nature, and I have been fascinated by cats generally—big and small ones—as long as I can remember. Having been so taken by THE CYPRESS HOUSE a few months ago, I opened THE RIDGE prepared to love it.
And even so, it exceeded my expectations.
Strictly speaking, I’m not sure THE RIDGE should be classified as crime fiction. Crimes are committed, yes, but it doesn’t fall into any one genre-specific classification I’m aware of. Murder mystery? Yes. Ghost story? Uh-huh. Noir? Sure. Detective story? Yep. Literary fiction? That too. Suspense? Definitely. Horror? There’s some of that too.
It is a story that stretched my imagination. It’s about a lighthouse that’s not on a coast (it’s in Kentucky) and a group of people—and big cats—influenced by a history they have to struggle to understand.
I read in Crimespree Magazine that Koryta cut 200 pages from THE RIDGE. I have no idea what was on their pages, but I certainly didn’t miss them. Every word in THE RIDGE fits perfectly with those surrounding it. No want; no waste. Koryta reminds me of Hemingway in that respect.
I’ve spoken with quite a few people who have read THE RIDGE, and for each, different aspects of the story resonated. Perhaps this is why it’s been described so many different ways, because it is a different book for every single reader.
With so many books to read, I don’t normally re-read them, but I expect to pick up THE RIDGE again, in no small part because I’m sure that reading it again will be like reading it for the first time, as I’m quite certain there are aspects of the story I missed the first time again. Perhaps the highest compliment I can give it, though, is that our next cat’s name will be Ridge.
Blurb: A story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.
Author’s Website: www.michaelkoryta.com